Industrial Computer Enclosure – A Buyers’ Guide (part 1)

Printers, monitors, touch screens, computer towers, desktop PC’s, keyboards, TV’s, clocks and any other sensitive electronics can be kept inside an industrial computer enclosure. Obviously the type of equipment to be used in the enclosure will govern the size and style of the cabinet, however, where it is going to be used will decide the type of protection the enclosure will require.

When selecting an enclosure it is imperative that you understand the type of area it is to operate in. Different environments require different protection. Industrial areas such as packing, despatch, goods-in, warehouses and storage facilities are often dusty which is why many industrial computer enclosures are designed and built to be totally dustproof. These enclosures ensure that whatever is kept inside is completely protected from the ingress of dust and dirt. The European IP rating system or the international NEMA rating is good guide to how much protection the enclosure can offer. When selecting an enclosure for a dusty area it is strongly advised that it has a minimum IP 54 rating or its NEMA 4 equivalent.

For areas which are moist, damp or even for wash down environments such as food processing areas or other environments in the food manufacturing industry then a minimum IP 65 enclosure will ensure the enclosed equipment can withstand being hosed-down and even jet-washed. It is also strongly recommended that the enclosure is manufactured from food grade stainless steel (316) which ensures the enclosure will not corrode this is also ensured by the NEMA 4x rating.

Some computer enclosures can offer both dustproof and waterproof resistance (to IP and NEMA satisfaction) making them ideal for any industrial areas including heavy industry their IP rating should demonstrate this. To help you better understand here is how the IP ratings are calculated. The first digit in the rating system represents the amount of solid object (dust) protection the enclosure protects from while the second digit explains the amount of liquid protection.

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